There comes a point, so I’ve been told, where a character either dies or is retired. And I have reached that point with Mercy Blackstaff, my Vleyborian Physician in the Fools and Heroes LARP system.
So, Mercy takes a bow and exits stage right, for a new character to enter from the left, hidden in shadow. A new character – a hero or merely a fool?
Retiring Doctor Blackstaff
The reasons behind Mercy’s departure are twofold: In Character (IC) and Out of Character (OOC).
She had reached a point where she sought the guidance of her Goddess and as she had her hands pressed onto Nathan Jameson’s chest, feeling his blood pump though her fingers (read the full story on Random Wednesday #53), at the back of my mind I thought – this is it. This is it – she’ll crack now. The reality of what they face has finally come home to her – Adventurers die and she can do nothing about it.
And after a bit of down time fluff with various PCs and NPCs, I decided that it was time for Mercy to bow out – alive and with grace – to become a branch NPC.
Out of Character
I was beginning to tire of her. She was a great beginner character – quiet, watchful, terrified (both IC and OOC) and people were generally nice to her because she was nice to them. I got to learn the basics of the system, face various scenarios and learn an aspect of game play. But being nice all the time and being terrified all the time begins to get very draining. So I began to think of ways out and next characters (admittedly as I sat counting off my limb wound count in a little wood near Edinburgh, waiting for the party to catch up or for the ref to come back and do something evil – like raise me as a zombie or eat my face or whatever … wait, that happened to those two other guys …)
So, on the eve of Newcroft’s venture to that frozen Llaminusian shore, Mercy holds up her hands and bids them safe voyage. She will not being going with them, for fear she might not come back.
But, never fear, a new character steps into a Space_wolf shaped space.
I give you Rowan Tait of Amblevale, the scout with a vengeance.
Character concept – building a new character with limited kit
Mercy was kit heavy. To the point where I was getting sick of putting layer after layer of kit on, with buckles and fastenings and pins and bits of string, of packing and unpacking heavy bags to hoist them onto my hips, of rolling heap loads of freshly laundered bandages after a particularly bad mission, of poring over my computer for a whole afternoon to check mixes and stuff that I can do.
And I kept eyeing my LARP sword (my sword, not Lord A384’s – who’s character used pretty much every other piece of weaponry we own) and thinking – if only.
As a monster, I’m more than happy to go careening off into the dark with the kit bag or hunting players or passing on messages from one ref to the other. I’ve begun to get a mental map of the site we use and I like to think I have no issue with the dark. I know, as a character, the dark is scary – but I’d like to have a character who is not afraid to go off on their own to report back.
This led me to consider a scout over a mercenary (since I don’t want to go from being a pacifist to becoming a tank or the first line of defence straight away) and I began to dig through my kit.
I recently purchased a shirt and tunic from Darkblade, a lovely green and cream combination, which I thought would make good Mercy “party” kit, Llaminusian kit (since I had knocked an idea of a father and daughter team around with one of my friends) or elven kit, so I knew I wanted to get some use out of it. Plus, it would get me out of the oodles of heavy cloth that used to tangle Mercy’s legs whenever she ran (don’t worry – these robes have gone to a good home). I also have a good number of dark-ish walking trousers that would do for IC kit when combined with my walking boots.
So I turned to the players guide and began to think of characters.
An elven scout with a bow tempted me – then I remembered I couldn’t really afford a bow and associated kit at the moment (though I’m not a bad shot with a bow …)
But my eye crossed the law guilds of Guards and Foresters – guilds you can’t enter into from the off or if you’re non-human, and my interest was raised. So I got in touch with a player I knew had played a Forester and asked her advice, then asked around with local players for their thoughts. And the more I asked, the more I began to like the idea. And I felt those creative thoughts a-stirring.
The “simple” concept is this: a lass from the borders (an area of land between Ithron and Lirron, based on the historical Border peoples of England and Scotland) is out seeking to learn the law and become a voice of justice for those people who have none within the Border Law.
We’ve had some border story kicking around the branch, with Ned the Scout being from that region – though we cannot be sure … (More on that in Random Wednesday #34), so I played around with the idea of bringing in some bits of plot into my own back story. And after doing some reading into gaelic names, border surnames and old border clans and their history (very interesting it was too), I began to piece together the tangled web of loyalties, alliances, ref-pointers and ideas that would become Rowan.
As you can see, my steps of developing the concept were along the lines of my usual character generation, apart from the name coming very late on in the process and working out the details of grandparents, cousins and some of the family ties in great detail. Other parts are left a little sketchy to allow for the refs to cook stuff up and for any other players who want to jump in as some vague family member – to be honest, she’s not totally aware of who her “Family” are actually allied with, so most people’s stuff would just fit in anyway.
Rowan is from a peaceful, non-raiding arm of the Tait Family (hence the distinguishing addition of Tait of Amblevale to her name), allied with other families under a Clan who is then allied into one of the Greater Clans that exist in FnH game lore. A number of things happen in her past (which may or may not be unveiled given time) and she, recalling the fair judgement of the Newcroft adventurers, comes to Newcroft to learn the way of Ithronian Law – I would learn Clan Law, but then I’d have to be in Edinburgh branch.
I’m working on my accent (which is likely to fluctuate around light scottish, irish and welsh due to my terrible acting), but I’m looking forward to playing a character who intends to take no crap from anyone unless she has to – with the aim of becoming Newcroft’s only law official currently in-game, thereby becoming a little bit special and giving me scope on becoming an actual hero.
Still a work in progress, but the current thoughts are:
IC base layers (top and bottom) – to keep out the cold
Scarf (actually a Buff, but close enough)
Sturdy walking boots
Arm armour (if I can afford it)
Dagger and sheath
Sword and scabbard
Hatchet and belt loop
Requirement of alchemy and min 3 bandages (if the old scouts guild rule still applies)
Pin with blue and silver ribbons
Some form of Tait Family token (red and white colours)
Blue face paint (current thoughts are: full streak across the eyes when in the dark for camouflage, narrow band across the nose when in daylight) – basically taken from the imagery of Pictish woad warriors.
Armour (body and legs)
Book of the Law
Book to note down miscreants and information
A photo will be uploaded at some point after I’ve played around with makeup and kit … if I live long enough …